After reading and following Malcolm Gladwell’s researches in his different books and presentations, I was curious to investigate how we are raising our children as Zimbabwean parents based on our different social classes.
Rich parents have a certain way of raising their children, middle class parents have their own way so do poor parents. This is what Malcolm Gladwell uncovers in his book “Outliers”.
In the book, quoting different psychologists in America that have made differing discoveries, concluded that children born in poor families have a certain way of thinking, that their behaviours are almost the same, as much as how they react to situations.
They went on to study “poor parenting styles” and compared them to how middle-class parents raise their children.
S Larean, a psychologist concluded that poor parents tend to follow a strategy he called “accomplishment of natural growth”. By this, he meant that poor parents see it as their responsibility to care for their children but they let their children grow and develop on their own without parental training and most of the times without any motivation.
Middle-class parents have a parenting style he called “concerted cultivation” which means they attempt to actively “foster and assess a child’s talents, opinions and skills”. Which inferred that middle-class parents are actively involved in the affairs of their children and they shape how their children think.
It was discovered in America by different psychologists that a child learns habits from the day the child is born up to seven years. What happens before a child reaches seven years will determine how the character and mind-set of that person for the rest of his/her life.
Most of the times we are so surprised by how people think or make their decisions when they are grown, but we don’t pay attention to how they were raised. How a child is raised matters, the school that a child goes to matters, the environment that a child grows in matters and what parents say to their child as the child is growing also matters.
All these things will determine the thinking system of a child when he/she grows and it will affect his/her decision-making process. Parents have to be particular about what their children watch, how their children spend their day, what their children do with their time and what they are training and saying to them. All these things will show up when the child grows up.
Most Zimbabweans prefer the natural accomplishment parental style. Children grow and develop habits and beliefs on their own. Parents are more worried about “caring” but not developing their children into something. We don’t intentionally nurture our children into greatness, if greatness happens it usually happens by accident yet we expect them to be great.
The Bible says, “train a child in the way that he should go so that when he grows he will not depart from it”. Success is not something that happens by accident. Success is more to do with preparation and how one is raised.
Being good at school is a reflection of parental styles at home. Parents are 75 percent responsible for the success of their children. This is why it was discovered in America that 70 people of people in jail are those that grew without parents or a father figure.
No one becomes a thief, a rapist, a robber or a murderer by accident. These things happen when parents allow their children to grow on their own. Parents must learn concerted parental styles.
They must be 100 percent involved in their children activities. This could mean exposing their children to positive things, saying positive words to their children. It could also mean going to school and creating a relationship with teachers so they know everything about their child. It could mean monitoring what their children are watching, who they play with and they should support and nurture talents they see manifesting in their children.
Brian Matsaira is a love and relationships coach and can be contacted on [email protected]